The procedures of the UNC Biological Waste Disposal Policy are consistent with the North Carolina medical waste rules (15A NCAC 13 B .1200) and the applicable sections of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030.

All biohazard waste generated in UNC-CH research laboratories will be properly treated and tagged prior to its transfer and final burial in the landfill. This biohazard waste includes:

  • Materials contaminated or potentially contaminated during the manipulation or clean-up of material generated during research and/or teaching activities requiring biosafety level 1, 2, or 3 or animal or plant biosafety level 1, 2, or 3. Refer to your laboratory’s Biological Hazards Registration section of the Laboratory Safety Plan (Schedule F) to identify these materials in your lab.
  • Human liquid blood and body fluids.
  • Human tissue and anatomical remains.
  • Materials contaminated with human tissue or tissue cultures (primary and established) because these are handled at BSL-2.
  • Animal carcasses, body parts, blood, fluids and bedding from animals infected with BSL2 and BSL3 agents.

Weekly testing with indicators that contain an average bacterial spore population of 104 to 106 (e.g. Bacillus stearothermophilus) meet the requirements of the North Carolina Medical Waste Rules. An example of a proper protocol for handling and treating biohazard waste at UNC follows:

  1. Safety First: Ensure BSL-2 Training, BBP training, and Hepatitis B vaccination are completed.
  2. Minimum protective apparel for operating the autoclave is a lab coat, safety glasses, gloves, and closed-toed shoes.
  3. Ensure biohazard waste is disposed of in an orange autoclavable bag.
  4. Place autoclave tape “X” over biohazard symbol.
  5. Always leave the bag open in the autoclave (to allow steam penetration).
  6. Always use a leak-proof secondary container in the autoclave.
  7. Secure the indicator to the end of a string, paper, or serological pipette to aid retrieval.
  8. Carefully place the indicator in the densest portion of the biohazard waste load.
  9. Run the autoclave cycle as usual and log the cycle parameters and indicator lot number.
  10. Carefully remove the indicator from the waste, and incubate with a control indicator.
  11. Document the results on the weekly log form.
  12. A positive result on the indicator requires the autoclave be posted as “NO USE” and EHS contacted and/or repairs initiated.

Waste does not need to be held until the indicator grows out. However, once the result is positive, the autoclave may not be used and must be reported.

For more information on proper collection and treatment of biohazard waste, refer to the UNC Biological Waste Disposal Policy.